Success in the Online Environment
Tips from the Peer Success Coaches
Tip # 1 - Know how to use the technology and online platforms
Introduction to Online Learning at Binghamton University is an orientation to learning online meant for students. There is no charge for this orientation and it should take upwards of two hours to complete.
The course is available using the link below, but you would like to engage in the activities within the course, you will need to enroll in the courses using the +Enroll button under the course menu.
Access Introduction to Online Learning at Binghamton University on myCourses (make sure you are logged into myCourses before clicking this link)
Once enrolled, you can visit the course at any time under the My Organizations module on the myCourses Homepage.
- At Binghamton University, myCourses is our Learning Management System (LMS) which is based on the Blackboard Learn product. Blackboard Help has a wide variety of resources, tutorials, and how-tos to assist you in your online learning experience. Visit Blackboard Learn Help for Students for more information.
- Learn how to optimize your Student Success Network using Starfish. Starfish at Binghamton is an online appointment scheduling and early alert communication tool that supports student success. Not familiar with how to use Starfish? Navigate to the Student Starfish Resources webpage for more information. Scroll to the section titled "Training Videos" for more in-depth support on navigating the system. Visit the Starfish at Binghamton webpage to access Student Starfish Resources.
- Videoconferencing may also be a new, unfamiliar part of your learning experience. Be sure to give yourself ample time when signing in and setting up for a class, webinar, meeting, or presentation. Technical difficulties can add to your stress and disrupt your learning process. Be sure to take some time to navigate the platform and learn the settings to decrease the distractions and disruptions as much as possible. While there are many different video conferencing platforms out there, the most popular that we have seen used on our campus is Zoom. Visit Zoom Resources for more information.
- Panopto is the video creation and content delivery solution used by Binghamton University. Your course instructor may ask you to complete an assignment using Panopto. For more information on how to use Panopto:
Tip #2 - Practice Good Virtual Communication
- When emailing an instructor or the Help Desk regarding your course, it is recommended to include:
- The course subject, number, and section (i.e. WRIT 111 - 02) in the subject line of the email
- [WRIT] = course subject |  = course number |  = course section
- Your name and B-Number
- A detailed, yet brief, explanation of why you are reaching out
- Be mindful of your expected response time when emailing University faculty and staff. If you are contacting them outside of their normal business hours, do not expect an immediate response. They may not check their email outside of business hours or they may have a high volume of emails that they need to respond to.
- Be proactive and communicate any issues or anticipated delays in completion of work as soon as you are able. Instructors have more ways that they can assist if they are notified of current challenges or anticipated issues in advance.
- Keep in mind that although virtual, you want to use the same style of language that you would use if you were addressing an instructor or university professional in person. Write in full, grammatically correct sentences. It is easy to make the assumption that because the method is virtual, that a more informal form of communication can be used.
- Clarification is key. If you do not understand an assignment, unsure how to use the learning management system, or are confused on a directive, seek clarification. This could be in the form of watching video tutorials, sending an email to a classmate, or reaching out directly to your instructor/TA.
- Actively participate in online discussion boards set up for your class, or take advantage of opportunities to connect virtually with your classmates. This can help create your virtual classroom support system, and you will have identified classmates to reach out to when you have course specific questions.
Tip # 3 - Time Management and Motivation
- Make a daily to-do list based on your coursework, assignments, and other non-school-work related responsibilities. Be specific with the tasks you assign yourself. Instead of just writing "study for Biology exam," consider writing "re-read chapter 8 and create flashcards with key words and concepts." This will allow you to have a measurable objective to work towards and stay on task.
- Take note of all upcoming assignments, exams, and project deadlines by using a calendar.
- Staying motivated can be a challenge. Consider creating a daily routine based on the online coursework you are enrolled in and when you know that you are your most productive.
- If you are enrolled in synchronous online coursework (i.e. courses that meet at a specific time and date that you need to "sign in" or participate via videoconferencing) be sure to give yourself time to deal with technical difficulties. These can add to your stress levels and disrupt your learning process. Be sure to take some time to navigate the platform and learn the settings to decrease the distractions and disruptions as much as possible.
- If you are enrolled in asynchronous online coursework (i.e. courses that do not require you to "sign in" for class time, instead you complete work independently within the deadlines stated on the syllabus), consider blocking out a specific time each day as your own personal "class time." It is easy to fall into the trap of procrastination. Be sure you are leaving yourself ample time to review the assignment, ask any questions you may have about the assignment (remember the delayed response time due to virtual communication), completed and turn in the work prior to the deadline.
- Consider asking a classmate to be an accountability buddy. Send each other a text or email checking in on each other with the progress of the coursework assigned or reminding each other of upcoming deadlines.
- Reflect on your academic motivators. Whenever you catch yourself wanting to push off an assignment or choosing not to tune in to a virtual lecture, it can help to remind yourself that your online coursework is still being factored into your semester GPA.
- Watch video tutorials of tips and tricks from students, like this one from Texas A&M University, on how to successfully navigate the transition to online learning.
Tip # 4 - Be Mindful of your Physical Environment
- Designate a specific study / class time area to mimic the experience of "going to class." Whether it is at your desk or at a kitchen table, this can allow you to get into "class mode" and hone your focus.
- Minimize distraction around you by:
- finding a quiet place
- using noise canceling headphones
- turning off social media notifications
- turning off background entertainment (i.e. gaming systems, video streaming, cable television, distracting music, etc).
Tip #5: Ask for help
Talk with your instructors, your advisor, and other support staff. Get to know, early on, the resources available to you, and don't wait to ask for help.
You’re working, taking care of family, attending classes, studying, participating in your community…and much more. Learn some tips and strategies for balancing it all and getting everything done on time.
The Writing Center
The Writing Center is another great resource. The Writing Center provides free tutoring in college writing for all students. Our excellent tutors are available Monday - Friday to assist you with any assignment from any class—essays, arguments, research papers, reports, analyses, editorials, proposals, abstracts, and lab reports, with critical reading, developing presentations, and citing sources. Effective Thursday, March 19, we will move to online tutoring. You can make your appointment the same way you always have by scheduling your appointment online
Our friendly tutors are here to help students from every college and school—native speakers and English Language Learners, undergrads and grad students—to become better writers. We guide and advise you as you work on your paper.
What Tutors Do
Provide insight to college-level writing as we assist students with the following:
- Understanding the assignment
- Writing with audience and purpose in mind
- Topic selection and narrowing
- Focusing a thesis
- Choosing credible source material
- Integrating source material and using academic citation styles such as APA, MLA, Chicago
- Understanding US conventions of Intellectual Property
- Developing logical structure
- Recognizing and resolving sentence-level problems
- Crafting flow, transitions and style
- Choosing appropriate words
- Developing presentations
What Tutors Don't Do
- Fix the paper
- Proofread or copy edit
We'll work with you to become a better writer and a better editor of your own work, but we won't do it for you.
ITS Help Desk
Information Technology Services - Tech Support is available to you!
The ITS Website itself has its own wealth of information you may find useful. Pay particular attention to the Services section for other important information.
Additionally, you can search the knowledge base and submit a help ticket directly through the ITS Self Service website.
ITS Help Desk Hours
Call: 607-777-6420 or email: email@example.com
Fall and spring semesters:
- Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.
- Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Summer and winter hours:
- Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Hours subject to change when classes are not in session for all semesters.
ResCons are also available for appointments in the Residence Halls as long as the Residence Halls remain open. To schedule an appointment with a ResCon, contact the ITS Help Desk.